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13 Things Every First-Time Traveler Should Know

13 Things Every First-Time Traveler Should Know

I love to travel. Seeing places I’ve never seen, meeting interesting, sexy people, discovering the perfect café or restaurant, it’s all so great. But with great adventure comes great peril. Here are 13 things to know if you’re setting out on a journey to a foreign country.

1. You’re easy to spot

People in other countries have certain mannerisms, body language and styles, which you don’t. And they may or may not have a totally different skin color than you, too. That makes you an obvious target, so be aware.

2. You may get homesick

Sometimes being in a place where you don’t know anyone and you don’t know the language can be really depressing, especially if you’re there for a long time by yourself. That’s okay. If you’re bored traveling, try walking around. Ask locals for cool places to visit: this will be really helpful so you don’t stumble into a bad neighborhood.

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3. Mistakes happen

If you miss your flight or lose some money, don’t worry too much about it. Stress will make you miserable. Instead, treat your mistakes as experience. Dealing with problems will make you more easygoing. Problems are what make travel fun and interesting. In the end, they’re fun stories to tell your friends when you return home.

4. Go for you

If you’re traveling with friends, be aware that you may be forced into going places and doing things you don’t want to. Don’t be afraid to take a stand and say, “I’d rather go here,” even if it means going by yourself. Time alone on an adventure can be more rewarding than following another leader.

5. It’s okay to get lost

Getting lost can lead you to walk certain streets, meet certain people, and have certain unexpected experiences. Getting lost is the essence of what travel is about—not knowing what’s going to happen and taking it as it comes.

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6. Keep your valuables at home

Bringing your MacBook Pro to Thailand is a bad idea, especially if you’re going on an extended trip. If you really want to bring a computer, buy a cheap notebook expressly for the purpose of travel.

7. Wear a fanny pack

Pickpockets abound in crowded cities, just waiting to snatch your passport or wallet. Take precaution by buckling up. Fashions have come a long way in twenty years—today’s fannies are slimmer and sleeker than those of yore. Carry and conceal important documents and cash to keep them safe.

8. Invest in comfortable shoes

In many countries sandals are more common than sneakers. To blend in with the locals, invest in a quality pair that’s more durable than your average flip flops. You’re going to do a lot of walking. And if you’re traveling somewhere cold, a cross-trainer sneaker is a good choice.

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9. You’re going to be uncomfortable

The idea of travel is romantic. But sometimes you find yourself on an overnight bus in ninety-degree weather without a shower until next evening. These situations may seem like torture, but if you survive, they will make you stronger.

10. Get ready to fall in love

It may be with someone else, it may be with a seaside village, or it may be the memory of being on a train, not knowing what’s next. Be prepared to fall in love, have your heart broken, and move on.

11. Bring a camera

Taking pictures will be one of your best ways to remember your journey. Just be careful to keep your camera on you at all times, and try to be discreet. Cameras are crucial, but they’re also a giveaway that you’re a traveler.

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12. Journal

It can take a lot of time and effort to keep a jounal, but it’s very rewarding to revisit personal records of a trip years later. Try to avoid listing what happened during your day. Instead, get to the nitty-gritty of how it felt when you first walked into that clearing, of your first impressions of a new friend, or of your personal failures and difficulties in simply getting around. Above all, when journaling, don’t be afraid to confess.

13. You don’t have to hit all the tourist sites

When traveling there are certain sites to see, sure, but you may have as much fun walking around the streets of Rome as you do snapping photos of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Fighting crowds, taking tour buses and paying overpriced ticket fees are all turn offs for me. Unless it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, I’m not sold on making a detour.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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